New Mexico Accelerators Awarded $200,000 for Small Business Startups through 3rd Annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

Release Date:
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Release Number:
9-16A NM
Jordan Ripley, (505)248-8250

ALBUQUERQUE – Four New Mexico accelerators were selected as 2016 recipients of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Growth Accelerator awards, totaling $200,000 to assist startup and rapid growth businesses across New Mexico.  The awardees are: ABQid, Creative Startups, IGNITE Community Accelerator and Native Entrepreneur in Residence.

“We are delighted the SBA has awarded $50,000 to each of these programs located in the South Central Region’s New Mexico District to serve as Growth Accelerators, joining a distinguished list of recipients who are tasked with helping build businesses and strengthen communities,” said Regional Administrator Yolanda Garcia Olivarez.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) consisting of SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation, Office of Native American Affairs, and Office of Veterans Business Development, along with our federal partners; National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Department of Education, announced the 68 winners of the third annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.  The winners include four accelerators from New Mexico, who will receive $50,000 each out of a total of $3.4 million in prizes to boost the economic impact of accelerators across 32 states and the District of Columbia.

“I’m pleased the judges recognized the diversity of our accelerator applicants and the demonstrated success of their programs by selecting four of our New Mexico accelerators to receive awards,” said Kerrie Hurd, Acting District Director, “these funds will help innovative New Mexico small businesses with strategic direction and mentorship, supporting rapid growth and job creation.”

The purpose of the competition was to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. While there are entrepreneurial activities occurring nationwide, some are better supported by private sector ecosystems than others. SBA has created connective tissue amongst the over 200 winning entrepreneurial ecosystems now part of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition program.

Accelerators serve entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors – from manufacturing and tech start-ups, to farming and biotech – with many focused on creating a diverse and inclusive small business community.   The 2016 competition decided to build on the success of the previous two years and provide several different areas of focus for winners to be funded under, including: General, Small Business Innovation (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, Veteran, and Native American.

Applications were judged by more than 100 experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, capital formation and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector.  The first panel of judges reviewed over 400 applications and presentations and established a pool of 200 highly qualified finalists.  The second panel evaluated the finalists’ presentations and pitch videos and selected the 68 winners.

Each organization will receive a cash prize of $50,000 from the SBA. In accepting these funds, the accelerators will also be committing to quarterly reporting for one year. They will be required to report metrics such as jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained. This will allow SBA to continue building upon its database of accelerators and their impact, and to develop long-term relationships with the startups and constituents in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities.

In addition to the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, SBA’s OII also supports investment and innovation in New Mexico through two flagship nationwide programs: Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). SBA licenses SBICs and provides $2 in government guaranteed debt for every $1 in private investment. Since it was created in 1958, over $80 billion has been invested, helping finance 170,000 American small businesses, including companies like COSTCO, Amgen, Apple, FedEx, Staples, and Tesla and Intel. At present, 5 New Mexico small businesses received $20.9 million in financings in FY 2015 alone.

The SBIR/STTR program is a key pillar in the federal government’s strategy to provide seed capital to talented entrepreneurs in science, technology and engineering. Since its inception in 1982, the program has awarded over 157,000 awards with $43.5 billion in funding to early stage companies, including small firms that grew to become many of America’s leading large firms, such as Qualcomm, Biogen, iRobot, and Symantec. The federal government made 65 SBIR/STTR awards to 28 small businesses in New Mexico totaling $30.2 million in FY 2015. In aggregate since 1983, the federal government has made 2596 awards to 484 small firms in New Mexico for a total of $636.9 million.

For more information about accelerators and the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, visit:




The 2016 New Mexico winners are:


ABQid – The ABQid accelerator is an intensive, three-month program for high growth start-ups.  ABQid provides competitively selected participants with initial seed funding, expert business advising and the opportunity to build a strong professional network among experienced entrepreneurs and investors.  By utilizing the Lean Startup methodology, participants refine their business model and product for launch into the marketplace.  ABQid is hosting their third cohort with 5 participating companies.  21 companies have already graduated from the program, including widely celebrated TeeniorsSM, founded by CEO Trish Lopez.  TeeniorsSM matches tech-savvy teen coaches with seniors who seek personalized tech support.


Creative Startups – Creative Startups is a ten-week accelerator program for creative entrepreneurs – those with an innovative business idea drawing upon arts, culture, expression and technology.  Participants benefit from expertise and connections provided by accomplished creative entrepreneurs and investors.  Since starting in 2014, 21 companies have completed the program, including the Santa Fe experiential arts production company, Meow Wolf.  Creative Startups is currently hosting their third New Mexico cohort and just this year launched a cohort in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Creative Startups has emerged as an international leader in developing the creative economy as it works with other cities across the globe to begin their own creative accelerator programs.


IGNITE Community Accelerator – A program of the Central New Mexico Community College STEMulus Center, the IGNITE Community Accelerator is open to early stage New Mexico start-ups for a free twelve-week intensive business development program.  Participants receive expert business coaching, an industry-specific mentor and a professional network of experienced entrepreneurs and investors.  27 companies have already completed the program and there are 13 current participants in the accelerator’s fourth cohort.  One past participant is the Rio Rancho based, BeGreaterThanAverage, founded by Dr. Shelley Gruenig, which teaches youth engineering, project management and professional development skills through building robots in a team setting.


Native Entrepreneur In Residence (NEIR) – The NEIR program houses, develops and finances innovative businesses and startups owned by Native American entrepreneurs. In addition to expert business advising, participants also benefit from training and experience in pitching to various types of investors and funders.  They complete the program with either direct financing or qualified introductions to other funders.  A program of New Mexico Community Capital (NMCC), NEIR is an integral part of NMCC’s mission to increase entrepreneurial opportunities and access to capital for native enterprises and tribal communities that are systemically underserved by most traditional capital providers and networks.  NEIR has supported over 20 past and current participants, including High Water Mark, LLC a Native American, woman-owned environmental consulting company owned by Phoebe Suina of San Felipe and Cochiti Pueblos.

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